As some of you will know in September 2013 I embarked on a two-year programme of study, for a masters in positive psychology (MAPP). On doing so I discovered that many people equate the term positive psychology with positive thinking, The Secret or the Law of Attraction. while they all have “positive intent” as a common thread, that is where the similarities end.
To explain a little more about what Positive Psychology is here’s a video:
However, that’s not the whole story. The video focuses on Martin Seligman’s PERMA model (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment). I recently came across another way of explaining Positive Psychology, by Tal Ben-Shahar, who has written the book Happier. Tal Ben-Shahar has the wonderful phrase of giving ourselves “permission to be human”. This embodies the concept of positive psychology perfectly to me; it is about experiencing the ups and the downs of life, being real and being realistic (see my earlier post on optimism).
Positive Psychology is not about denying the negatives in life, the events we wish hadn’t happened, or the feelings we wish would go away. It is the scientific study of what enables people to be fully human, to experience more of the ups by choice, taking empirically researched steps to increase their levels of well-being, meaning in life and happiness.
Not just “thinking positively”.